Rider to Rider: What’s Your Horse’s Favorite Treat?

Readers divulge which goodies bring their horses running.

Red licorice!


Andrea McDonald

Mike and Ike candies (but not the red ones).

Molly McGaughey, Connecticut


Michele Rossa Buddenhagen, New York

My horse, Clark Kent, loves peppermints. He’ll do anything for one?even come from the other end of his 20-acre pasture.

Alison A. Thomas, Arkansas

My horse, Ripley, loves cat food! When I first got him, he pulled me across the barn to get to the barn cat food. It’s the only “treat” he’ll give a cute little whinny for and the quickest way to get him to forgive me after not seeing him for a day or two.

Becky Kalban, Texas

Sausage pizza! My off-the-track Thoroughbred took a slice out of the box one year at his birthday party and has loved it ever since.

Caitlin Clossen, Texas

My horses have many favorite treats, but there’s one treat they love that they don’t often get: Kellogg’s Froot Loops cereal! My horses are back home in South Africa.?I always try to take Froot Loops with me whenever I visit. I don’t get to see them often, and it helps that when I do, I have their favorite treat to share with them!

Nicki de Jager, Texas

My jumper, Perry, loves SunChips. He sticks out his nose and gives kisses for them. I just can’t say no to that face!

Terri Vonderschmidt, Kansas

My gelding’s favorite treat is an ice-cold beer or soda. He doesn’t get it very often, but there is nothing else that gets him more excited and makes him lick his lips more. He gets a dark beer like a Guinness, and he is very careful drinking it out of the bottle. He knows if he tries to bite that I will take it away from him, so he lets me tilt it up so he can drink it down. Everyone usually gets a kick out of watching him suck down a cold one.

Jaime Brunner, Florida

Three of my horses love to be hugged around the neck and kissed on the nose. The others just want the horse cookies!

Annamarie Cummings, California

My horses unanimously agree that their favorite treat is a soft stroke on their foreheads and over their eyes, much like a mare would lovingly groom her foal. The added benefit is that my horses aren’t “mouthy” and don’t paw at the stall door when I come down the barn aisle. They nicker when they see me and then patiently wait their turn for their “horsey loves.”

Marian Giffin, California

My Thoroughbred absolutely loves Peeps. After eating one, he’ll lick whatever is within reach for 10 minutes. We stock up when they’re in season, but if we run out, he will settle for gummy bears or gummy orange slices?anything gooey and chewy.

Hannah Davis, Florida

My babies love fruit from Osage orange trees! I’ve seen them stand on their back feet trying to get the last ones from the top of the tree.

Donna Grimwood, Alabama

Carrots!?When I first got my Thoroughbred gelding, he didn’t know how to eat treats, so I had to bite off small pieces to feed him. Now when he hears my voice in the barn, he’ll hang his head over his door looking for them.

Barbara De Groot, New Mexico

My horse LOVES Strawberry Pop-Tarts!!

Hunter Shirley, Virginia

I had a horse, Sandy, who loved Kit Kat bars. When he saw that red little wrapper and heard it crinkle he would whip his head around and literally attack me trying to get at the Kit Kat bar. He was a total garbage gut. Always in your pockets and was willing to try whatever you were eating or drinking. He drank several of my mochas. Naughty pony!

Stefanie Cruz, Georgia

I try to give my Tazz fresh treats when I can. I aim for locally grown carrots and apples.

Lindsay Haefner Neadow, New York

Stud Muffins and apples. Somehow he manages to pull out the “cute” face when he spots an apple in my hand and, as we all know, it’s hard for a mama to resist the face of our fur buddies when they put on such a show just for a treat.

Doreen Guthrie, Alberta

My mare will eat just about anything, but her favorite snack is dill pickle potato chips and lemon popsicles. I swear I can see her pucker her lips!

Cheryl Figures, via Internet

I am convinced my horse’s favorite “treat” is looking back at me once I turn him out post-bath while he immediately drops to his knees in the nearest mud puddle. I swear he is just laughing at me; he looks so happy as he grinds the dirt back in!

Jorna Taylor, Wisconsin

Glazed donuts, Cheerios and Life Savers.

Claire Pida, California

Elvis likes carrots. I hold a carrot in the middle, and Elvis eats from one end and my dog McKenna eats from the other. They love to share.

Bridget Harrison, Virginia

It’s all about the delivery. As long as the treat is given to her without the presence of my two dogs, she graciously takes the offering in the manner of a lady of good breeding.

Suzanne Adams, Massachusetts

Carrots, apples, horse salad that I make from the white clover and dandelion in our pool area (we’re not “lawn people”) and a little taste of Chardonnay if I bring my cocktail out to the barn.

Jennifer Jones Bassier, North Carolina

My Thoroughbred is strange enough to enjoy hotdogs?of the stolen variety. He’s been known to “steal” unguarded hot dogs at shows and my mare is nutters for spice drops. But my TB’s favorite “treat” is his massage therapy?he melts like snow in July!

Morgan Wiggins Reeves, Florida

My sweetie Masada’s favorite treat is a kiss and massage from me! But, he also loves jelly beans, Sour Patch Kids, and of course carrots and peppermints!

Lyndsey Kinsella-Kiner, Illinois

Iggy J loves Peeps (all holidays, all colors) so much I clipped bunny Peeps into his hips this year when we body clipped!

Sarah Coleman, Kentucky

Watermelon! He’d eat the whole thing if I’d let him.

Erin Hite, North Carolina

Joshua and I share a mutual love of Sour Patch Kids ? although he refuses to touch the green ones (which happen to be my favorite). A match made in heaven, if ever there was one!

Emma Van Nostrand, Michigan

My pony likes anything but his favorites are green apple licorice from Target and Mike and Ike’s.

Lauren Wear, Rhode Island

Glazed donuts.

Rosemary Collins, via Internet

Sug will eat anything. She likes McDonald’s French fries, any kind of fruit, mints, and Oreos, but she LIVES for Boston Creme Donuts. She makes her adorable treat face and stands on her tippy toes on the ends of her cross ties every time she sees one. I swear she recognizes the Dunkin Donuts box.

Amy Vodraska, via Internet

Red licorice, the kind you get at the movie theaters. He hates black though.

Jolene Mooney-Shermer, Washington

All of my horses go crazy over sugar cubes! And the best part is that I don’t have to worry about them choking on the treats because they dissolve.

Roseanne Lafferty, Virginia

Cinnamon rolls from Harris Teeter. He’ll crawl into your lap for them!

Kate Singh, via Internet

All my horses love Peeps, but they have to be the yellow ones. A close second is chocolate chip cookies.

Nancy Schuma, Illinois

My horse Vera’s favorite treats are carrots, but she especially loves a good rub on her forehead and under her jaw.

Heather Hartland, Pennsylvania

Nabisco Teddy Graham cookies.

Kelly O’Neill, Washington

My horse’s favorite reward is a well-timed “good boy!” to give him confidence in his work.

Shannon McGlon, Alabama

Flax Snax is a small cookie made from flax seed oil. My horse thinks he’s getting spoiled, but he’s really getting supplements.

Brittany Paul, North Carolina

Vanilla wafers

Denise Humphries, Maryland

My horses love Mrs. Pastures Horse Cookies. They all lick their lips for several minutes after eating them. It’s hilarious to watch!

Angie Wilson, West Virginia

The horse I lease, Harry, loves marshmallow Peeps.

Tianli Kilpatrick, Massachusetts

Our Polish Arabian Hippy loves to bob for apples, especially when it is hot out! He loves pears too, but HATES mango. Go figure.

Latricia Tewell, via Internet

Good old-fashioned carrots!!

Caryn Wilbanks, Texas

Obi Wan loves it when I come to greet him with an apple. The cutest part about it is he takes the smallest bites. Then once we get into the barn to be tacked up, he loves his Nicker Makers. But in order to get one, he has to stretch to either side to reach them from my hands, or has to reach between his legs, or as high as I can reach. This horse loves his treats so much that if I show up without them then he actually puts on a “pitiful me” starving pony face. He is the sweetest horse ever!

Chandalyn Chrzanowski, Georgia

Both my boys simply love their carrots! I know they’re not very “original,” but they can’t get enough!

Nancy Rosen Resop, Wisconsin

My horse only has ONE treat she likes. She hates apples, sugar cubes, peppermints, and regular horse treats. The only things I can get her to eat are carrots!

Melissa Adams, Florida

My horse loves carrots. When he sees a carrot, his eyes light up and after he eats the carrot, he continues to look at you and lick his lips for an addition 5 minutes. I assume that is him begging for more!

Jessica Kuchtenko, Florida

Where I work in the summer is a kid’s summer horse camp. Each week’s group makes treats for the horses and ponies they ride and the horses absolutely LOVE it! It is pretty fun because we chop up carrots and apples, put it with granola and some grain, then scoop it into ice cream cones before going out to the pastures to feed all the horses and ponies. The kids love it, I love it, and the horses probably think of it as their favorite part of each week!

Kalena Richards, Illinois

Impulsive, my daughter’s retired eventer, loves Bob’s Sweet Stripes Soft Peppermints. She gets so excited when she hears my unwrapping them! Tucker, my draft cross eventer, does back flips for carrots? Well, not really, but I think he would if he could! He really loves them!

Lori Tankel, Florida

Marky loves sugar cubes, the straight stuff. Lacey loves carrots.

Crystal Dawn Palmer, Saskatchewan

Carrots are Rosie’s favorite!

Stephanne Johnson, California

At the barn my sister and I ride at there are two horses and their names are Abott and Claire. Although Abott will eat any treat he can get his greedy little hooves on, his favorite are apples. Claire on the other hand has only one favorite treat and those are carrots. So our family has created, “Apples for Abott and Carrots for Claire” as a fun little saying to help us remember their favorite treats.

Hayley and Olivia McMillon, via Internet

I have always thought that my mare’s favorite treat was peppermints. At a schooling show last fall my daughter and a friend discovered that she likes bananas!

Lucy, Ohio


Callie Erickson, Oregon

My horse loves carrots, peppermints, apples, watermelon, and horse cookies. But she will not eat any other treats, like homemade ones. She always sniffs things before she eats them and wont try anything new. I once made her a horse cake for her birthday and she wouldn’t eat it!!

Dana Jones, Florida

My horses love peppermints! As soon as they hear the wrapper they come running.

Mckenzee Petree, Tennessee

Peppermints, and one of the horses likes celery.

Laura Poff, Colorado

Peppermint puffs. They are softer than hard peppermints.

Heather Fisher, Pennsylvania

My OTTB, Atlas loves a very classic treat, the peppermint! He will literally jump out of his skin upon hearing the crinkle of the wrapper!

Kaitlynn Wallace, Georgia

My guy loves peppermints! I love them too…all I need is a plastic wrapper and he will gallop up to me from two acres away!

Tracy Shumard, Texas

Peppermints! He knows they are inside the mounting block and he loves to flip the lid and dig for them. He also loves the carrot fairy. She brings him carrots during the day when he is outside and he looks for them as soon as he comes in for dinner.

Patti Hallock, Colorado

My horse LOVES candy canes. Apparently, they are just the right combination of sugar and mint. Being the well-trained owner that I am, each year I dutifully go to the local drug store the day after Christmas and fill a shopping cart full. This ensures that I have enough for the year. He also enjoys savoring his canes by crunching them, letting them sit on his tongue, and then sucking on them until they disappear. His ears flop, his eyes shut and he tunes everything around him out for what we all call “Peppermint Nirvana.”

Christi Barnes, Maryland

Taeta Pudding, my QH mare, loves peppermints!

Leeanne Vogt, Florida

Nature Valley granola bars.

Debby Moore Sween, Washington

Hands down…. Nature Valley Oats ?N Honey crunchy granola bars…they LOVE them!

Laura Soldano, Pennsylvania

My gelding Atlas loves bananas! He thinks he needs to share whatever you’re eating, though, and only dislikes cauliflower!

Elise Freed, Michigan


Michele Buddenhagen, New York

My horses love all our local fruits? mangos, guavas, sapodillas and coconuts.

Claire Cash, via Internet

My dainty mare LOVES watermelon in the summer…but not the rind, so when she gets to the end of the red part she starts nibbling like a person! And peppermints in the winter!

Annie Newton, via Internet

My horse Junior loves Nature Valley Oats ?N Honey granola bars. Every time he hears the wrapper, he goes nuts! Some of his favorite students bring him the jumbo boxes that you can get at the club stores. Yup, he’s spoiled!

Steph Spiece, Pennsylvania


Shannon Derr, via Internet

My three horses relish the opportunity to try different fruits such as grapes, raisins, apricots (both dried and fresh), cranberries and dates. I think their absolute favorite treat is watermelon, especially on a hot day. They even like the rind. I love watching their facial expressions as they delight in something so tasty and refreshing.

Mary Lynne Carpenter, via Internet

Honestly, it’s green grass. They are kept in “dry paddocks” so after our ride I give them a treat of grazing in the fresh spring grass around the stable. They love it and I love the extra bonding time I get with my horses!

Alice Jez, via Internet

It took me a month to get my OTTB to eat an apple when I first got him, but his favs are Starlight peppermints and Nature Valley Oats ‘N Honey bars (the cheapest “horse” treats around). He is very picky and if you offer something new he is convinced we are trying to poison him!

Ashley Shepherd Vaughn, via Internet


Terry Shryock Shirey, via Internet

It’s Gingersnaps for Ginger (in limited quantities for the requisite health reasons). Why? Because whether I call her Gingersnap, Gingerbread, Ginger Mare, Innocence (her given name), or just plain Ginger, my ginger-chestnut mare clearly loves Gingersnaps.

Anne Curtis, via Internet

My mare, Hope, enjoys carrot cake!!

Shawn Zimmerman, via Internet

Vanilla Wafers.

Denise Humphries, Maryland

Both my boys LOVE frosting coated oatmeal cookies, I can bribe them to do pretty much anything if I have a few in my hand!

Linda Papagna, via Internet

Gingerbread men cookies and lemon cookies! She’s a very finicky TB mare and couldn’t care less about other treats!

Ellen Gregory, Mississippi

Stud Muffin Horse Treats. They are like horse crack!

Melissa Rogers, Florida

Stud Muffins! For obvious reasons.

Delia Lutz, Pennsylvania

Stud Muffins!

Margaret Duncan, Maryland

My 26-year-young TB “Light the Forge” LOVES Stud Muffins. I started buying these online about 10 years ago and Forge now expects them as part of our routine. I encouraged the local tack shop to stock them for me and they fly off their shelves!

Carol Happel, Florida

Stud Muffins and apples. Somehow he manages to pull out the “cute” face when he spots an apple in my hand and, as we all know, it’s hard for a mama to resist the face of our fur buddies when they put on such a show just for a treat.

Doreen Guthrie, via Internet


Bridget Folts, via Internet


Eileen Cornwall, Pennsylvania

Apple Jacks cereal and cantaloupe!

Danielle Hutchinson, via Internet

My horse is a complete junk food horse. He loves anything with sugar but he absolutely loves his onion rings and chocolate milkshakes!!!

Ashley Eggemann, Pennsylvania

As far as food goes, my stout Norwegian Fjord gelding loves any kind of treat. Horse cookies, peppermints, apples, carrots, bananas, etc. But for his health and to help trim his waste line I have decided to feed him low sugar treats. He gobbles down hay cubes like a vacuum! For special occasions he does receive a small sugary treat.

Jan Koontz, via Internet

All of mine will pretty much come running and molest anyone who makes noise with a plastic bag within earshot! By their behavior, you’d think I starve them even though I’m pretty sure they all scale around an eight on the obesity scale!

Tracy Burke, Pennsylvania

My horse loves: bananas, apples, pears, watermelon, donuts, peppermints, pita chips, oatmeal cookies and birthday cake Oreos. I’m sure he would like just about anything I offered.

Diana Kocunik, Illinois

My horses all have different favorites. My mare Annabelle’s favorite treat is a Guiness Stout. In the summer, my 34-year-old gelding, Fiddle, and my 18-year-old gelding, Storm’s favorite treat is a pig pop. To make a pig pop, you take a freezable container and fill it with apples, carrots, bananas, grapes and peppermints (or whatever your horse prefers) and then top it with water, juice or Gatorade, leaving enough room for freezing without overflow. You freeze it until solid (normally overnight) and then dump it in a feed trough and let them go to town. It works as enrichment and as a cool treat.

Aimee Vaughn, Georgia

My horse’s favorite treat is also my own, Twizzlers. A great low-fat snack and he eats them just like a person, one bite at a time. A must have in the tack trunk!

Laurel Huff, via Internet

My horse thinks its time to eat anytime I eat. He loves root beer barrels, Kit Kat bars, Pop Tarts, Coca Cola, any kind of candy, ice cream cones, Cheezits, sweet potato fries. He even stole a chicken sandwich out of my hands once, spit the chicken out and ate the cheese, bread and lettuce!

Alyssa Walker, Texas

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